In a continuation from the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen’s Oct. 11 meeting, Wrightsville Beach resident Bill Columbus’ offer to provide the necessary audio/visual equipment to broadcast the town’s meetings on the Internet will come before the board again at its Nov. 8 meeting. Although this issue was a public hearing at the Oct. 11 meeting, it will be a regular agenda item at Thursday’s meeting.
Columbus’ offer includes donating a new camcorder, a digital encoder and one year’s worth of the annual fee for the online cloud hosting website Livestream, all totaling roughly $2,345. Several members of the public spoke in favor of the service during the public hearing, as did Wrightsville Beach Mayor David Cignotti and Alderman Bill Sisson.
However, Mayor Pro Tem Susan Collins, and Aldermen Darryl Mills and Elizabeth King voiced concerns about not moving forward with the project until all of the details were presented. Those details included who on the town’s staff would operate the camera and what the laws were concerning archiving public meetings on a private website.
One of the public hearings scheduled for Thursday’s board meeting is for the consideration of a conditional use permit to allow Jerry Allen’s Sports Bar and Grill to expand its outdoor patio area on the bottom floor of The Crest building. The plans submitted by Jerry Lachman, the owner of The Crest, calls for the removal of two exterior walls on the south side of the existing patio and the restroom.
The creation of this additional space for patrons would increase the standing room only occupancy of the establishment from 186 to 198 as estimated by the New Hanover Fire Marshal. With occupancy of that size, the required off-street parking volume totals 53 spaces. Lachman is requesting a parking exemption for a total of 40 of those spaces. Currently, there are 13 off-street parking spaces in the lot located behind The Crest.
In the board’s agenda packet, the town planning staff recommends that the board deny the conditional use permit for the expansion of the patio area due to the already existing issue of a lack of off-street parking in the C-1 Commercial District, in which The Crest building is located.
Other regular agenda items scheduled for the board’s Nov. 8 meeting include two requests by the Wrightsville Beach Police Department to purchase new equipment using the remainder of the funds from the department’s North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety grant.
The first request is for an electronic fingerprinting system at a cost of $32,779, $24,584 of which would be paid for with the remaining grant funds and $8,194 by the town. The second request is for the purchase of personal body cameras for officers at a total cost of $17,100. The remaining grant funds would account for $12,825 of the cost with the town providing a $4,275 match.
At the end of the regular agenda, Sisson said he plans to resurrect the board’s discussion of joining New Hanover County’s Emergency Operations Center in reaction to the amount of destruction experienced by the northeastern portion of the country from Hurricane Sandy.